What if we got rid of all those laws that pushed apart electric companies and transit companies? Some comments have been made about just getting people on transit instead of changing the vehicles. But honestly, I feel like San Francisco is a better urban place because bus exhaust is not flowing in my face when I'm walking down the street. One thing I noticed this weekend in Charlotte was that the bus terminal is going to lead someone to cancer. The downtown bus center has buses idling under a canopy at all hours creating a smell that means particulate concentration can't be very good.
In any event, with the electric grid needing a serious upgrade, how much more would it really cost to bring overhead wires to the most traveled routes and tie them into the new grid? Some of these could be light rail, some could be trolley buses, and other could be streetcars. But all could be easily adapted to alternative energy if they were using electricity to start with. But also, how could this be a mutually beneficial relationship?
Some thoughts I came up with:
- Use power rates as sort of a business carbon fee. Businesses paying the tax would directly benefit because infrastructure is used to get to work and retail spaces. Bikes, transit, even roadways would benefit from such funding mechanism.
- Transit could get a lower power rate as part of the power company. This means operations could be less expensive meaning more service and if enough transit vehicles are running, perhaps cheaper energy because of power equalization during greater off peak power consumption.
- If we improve the grid and transit is a part of it, charging your plug in hybrid or scooter would pay into the transportation fund as well generating funding for the transport agency as well.
- If we have a business power fee, could it allow us to get away from the sales tax?
- This type of fee would reward more efficient building practices.